In today’s world, land line phones are becoming ancient technology. More and more customers are leaving phone line systems for VoIP systems, while others, myself included, operate solely through their cellular service. It never ceases to amaze me, however, that the quality of cellular service at home leaves something to be desired. I have moved three times in the past two years, and haven’t been able to average more than a 2-bar signal in any of my homes. Excessive dropped calls, poor reception and sound quality, and the especially hated voice mail notice from calls that never rang. Sound familiar? Well it may be time to invest in an amplification system to boost cellular signal while around the house.
The setup is simple, intuitive, and available for purchase from several manufacturers. It consists of a pair of antennas, one high gain and one low gain, and an amplification system. The system works best if the large gain antenna is mounted outside of the house, but it is not necessary. The system improves your service by relaying the signals from the high gain antenna, through the amplifier, through a smaller antenna mounted somewhere inside the home and out to your cellphone . Transmitting works in the reverse fashion starting from the cell phone, to the small antenna, then through the amplifier and out the large antenna to the service tower. The benefits to be gained here are two fold. First, the antenna that communicates directly with the tower will have a much stronger response (higher gain) to the signals, both in and out, than the cell phone because of its sheer size. Secondly, the signal is being amplified again through an in-line amplifier. The result is a serious increase in local signal to your cell phone resulting in better battery life, fewer dropped and missed calls, and just plain better quality service. This type of setup is not limited to the home either. There are also systems available for installation in your vehicle which operate on the same principle.
Popular Science has a full length article describing these setups and even points out some manufacturers and models of devices available today.
Read More | Popular Science
Talk about getting plastered! NXT has announced the US debut of Amina Technology Ltd’s In-wall loudspeakers. With a combination of high definition audio reproduction and some serious designing, these 16” speakers can be placed within any wood or metal stud-work wall. Sounds are recreated in a less directional, more evenly based way than traditional cone speakers so that no matter where you sit, you get the same great sound as everyone else.
The AIW5 can handle 80 watts of continuous power while generating 105 db of sound after applying plaster. Check with Amina for pricing and special sizing. The loudspeakers will be formally introduced at Denver’s CEDIA Expo 2006 starting September 13. In the meantime, think about all that room you will have for your next party.
Read More | AIW5 Speaker Product Page
Belkin continues their surge protecting ways with the Compact Surge Protector. This one uses a unique design, offering a total of 11 outlets - 6 regular, 4 BlockSpace, and 1 convenience (for cell phone chargers, etc.) - in a compact (go figure) enclosure. The Compact Surge Protector offers a six-foot cord, a closing cover to protect pets and the kiddies, 1-in/2-out phone/fax/modem protection, and 1-in/1-out for coaxial cable and ethernet. Oh, and if it messes up your gear, you can rest easy knowing that it comes with a $300,000 Connected Equipment Warranty, sho ‘nuff. The compact surge protector will hit retail for $39.99 USD.
Belkin aims to please those who hate crawling under their desk to plug things in. The Clamp-On Surge Protector is the first of it’s kind, hooking on to the edge of your desk, workbench, or other similar area, allowing you to simply plug and unplug things from the comfort of your chair, if you so choose. Aside from the whole clamp thing, the surge protector also has a ten-foot cord, and 6 outlets - four normal, and two “BlockSpace.”
“Most of the time, surge protectors are made for placement on the ground,” says Kelly Berg, Sr. Product Manager for Belkin. “By adding the clamp-on feature, you can move and mount the Surge Protector to an easy-to-reach spot—whether it’s your computer desk or your workbench in the garage.”
The Belkin Clamp-On Surge Protector will retail for $34.99 USD, and will ship in North America in October, with launches in Asia, Europe, and Australia to follow shortly thereafter.
Want to hunker down for a good read without having to get up every so often to get something else to peruse? A design company called Umamy has you covered.
The name of this super-comfortable couch is the Groovy Banana. We’re guessing that it’s named that because of it’s look. We’re also guessing that we’d be very comfortable rocking back and forth in its rubbery depths. Notice the “shelves” underneath, on which you can store your books, magazines, even an e-reader or laptop.
You certainly would not want to do tricks on this baby. For one thing, your books would go flying. For another, you might not be able to get back up if the Groovy Banana landed on you. Better not to monkey around.
Wondering about price? So are we ...
Read More | Umamy
When is a door chime not a door chime? When it’s a knock.
Check out the Knock-Knock Door Chime, a device that doesn’t show itself off as itself. You install it on the inside of your front door, on an adjoining wall, or up to 100 feet away, and let the chime do the rest. When a friend or neighbor or door-to-door salesman knocks on the front door, the chime sounds inside the house, alerting you to the presence of someone you do or do not want to see. No wires are needed, and you can pick one up for $49.99 USD.
As summer continues to melt our non-air conditioned office, we often find ourselves thinking about technology related to the season. When we were sent news about the Del Mar Magma Grill, we laughed at how much it resembled a podium, but then realized the draw. Most grills are either too small, or just way too big and bulky. The Del Mar Magma grill goes against the grain. This thing has a small footprint, and is made out of 18-9 stainless steel. Standing 41-inches tall, it takes a very functional approach to grilling and can be doubled as an oven or stove, and you can choose from natural gas or propane models. If you want one, they sell for $400 USD. A bit pricey, but that is the cost of style, we guess.
Read More | Magma Products
D-Link today rolled out the Securespot, an Internet security device designed to provide business-level threat protection for up to four computers on a home or small business network. This new device is priced at $99.99, the price of which includes one-year licenses for the computers being protected.
The Securespot, according to D-Link, uses a combination of hardware, software applications and Web-based management services to prevent unwanted content from breaching a protected network. Features included in this Internet security device include firewall and intrusion detection, a plug and play design, web-based control panel, multi-layer security, support for Windows and Mac based operating systems and content filters for 82 categories. The Securespot is powered by Bsecure Technologies.
Read More | D-Link Securespot Product Page
A major player in wireless transmission of music and video says that a purely wireless and digital home is still about a decade away. Sonos CEO John MacFarlane believes that although both Redmond and Cupertino are banking on the technology, as well as third party hardware companies like Belkin and Philips, consumer interest and technology are still in their infancy.
The issue may be that the technology relies on home networking, and at current time, only 1 in 6 users have a network. This is largely due to the “flashing VCR” crowd not understanding what a home network can really do. When all that changes, the tipping point for consumer interst and technology isn’t far behind.
Read More | BBC Technology
Perfect for a backyard BBQ party or a game when you need a chilled beverage in a hurry, the Cooper Cooler can chill a can of soda, bottle of beer, or even a bottle of wine in a few minutes. And when they promise refrigerator cold 43F/6C or even “ice cold” in about 5 minutes, they aren’t kidding. The secret is 35 cubes of ice water, 2 cups of water, and rotation of the beverage as the chilled water is pumped over it. And the best part is, it doesn’t shake up the contents of whatever you’re drinking before you open it. Optional car lighter plug can even make it portable for that tailgating party. At around $80, it’s a must for anyone who entertains.
Read More | Cooper Cooler
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